Chess Variants/Dunsany's Chess

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a b c d e f g h
8a8 black rookb8 black knightc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black kingf8 black bishopg8 black knighth8 black rook8
7a7 black pawnb7 black pawnc7 black pawnd7 black pawne7 black pawnf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawn7
6a6 black kingb6 black kingc6 black kingd6 black kinge6 black kingf6 black kingg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 black kingc5 black kingd5 black kinge5 black kingf5 black kingg5 black kingh5 black king5
4a4 white pawnb4 white pawnc4 white pawnd4 white pawne4 white pawnf4 white pawng4 white pawnh4 white pawn4
3a3 white pawnb3 white pawnc3 white pawnd3 white pawne3 white pawnf3 white pawng3 white pawnh3 white pawn3
2a2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnd2 white pawne2 white pawnf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawn2
1a1 white pawnb1 white pawnc1 white pawnd1 white pawne1 white pawnf1 white pawng1 white pawnh1 white pawn1
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The starting position of Dunsany's Chess.

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Dunsany's Chess is an asymmetric chess variant that pits the standard chess army against a horde of pawns. The exact number of pawns in the horde differs from subvariant to subvariant, but the basic rules of the variant remain the same.

History[edit | edit source]

Dunsany's Chess was created by Anglo-Irish writer and dramatist Lord Dunsany in 1942, from whom the variant gets its name.

Rules[edit | edit source]

As already stated, in Dunsany's Chess both players are given very different armies: White is given a horde of 32 pawns that fill the first through fourth ranks, while Black is given the standard chess army in their usual positions.

The goal of the White player is to checkmate the black king, while the goal of the Black player is to capture every single one of the white pawns. All of the pieces have their usual moves, but only Black's pawns have the initial two-step move. Also, unlike regular chess Black moves first.

Sub-variants[edit | edit source]

There are two main subvariants of Dunsany's chess, both using the name Horde chess. The two subvariants differ in who gets the horde of pawns:

  • The black version of Horde chess give Black the horde of pawns. Black has 32 pawns, like in the normal variant. They occupy the eighth through fifth ranks, but with two black pawns on d4 and e4 instead of d8 and e8. White moves first, and the black pawns on the seventh rank have the usual two-step move.
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8 a8 black pawn b8 black pawn c8 black pawn d8 black king e8 black king f8 black pawn g8 black pawn h8 black pawn 8
7 a7 black pawn b7 black pawn c7 black pawn d7 black pawn e7 black pawn f7 black pawn g7 black pawn h7 black pawn 7
6 a6 black pawn b6 black pawn c6 black pawn d6 black pawn e6 black pawn f6 black pawn g6 black pawn h6 black pawn 6
5 a5 black pawn b5 black pawn c5 black pawn d5 black pawn e5 black pawn f5 black pawn g5 black pawn h5 black pawn 5
4 a4 black king b4 black king c4 black king d4 black pawn e4 black pawn f4 black king g4 black king h4 black king 4
3 a3 black king b3 black king c3 black king d3 black king e3 black king f3 black king g3 black king h3 black king 3
2 a2 white pawn b2 white pawn c2 white pawn d2 white pawn e2 white pawn f2 white pawn g2 white pawn h2 white pawn 2
1 a1 white rook b1 white knight c1 white bishop d1 white queen e1 white king f1 white bishop g1 white knight h1 white rook 1
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
Starting position for the black version of horde chess.

  • The white version of Horde chess is offered as an available variant on both Chess.com and lichess.org. Compared to the normal variant it adds four more white pawns. Also, White's pawns on the first and second ranks have the initial two-step move. Unlike in regular chess, this does not have to be the pawn's first move.
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8 a8 black rook b8 black knight c8 black bishop d8 black queen e8 black king f8 black bishop g8 black knight h8 black rook 8
7 a7 black pawn b7 black pawn c7 black pawn d7 black pawn e7 black pawn f7 black pawn g7 black pawn h7 black pawn 7
6 a6 black king b6 black king c6 black king d6 black king e6 black king f6 black king g6 black king h6 black king 6
5 a5 black king b5 white pawn c5 white pawn d5 black king e5 black king f5 white pawn g5 white pawn h5 black king 5
4 a4 white pawn b4 white pawn c4 white pawn d4 white pawn e4 white pawn f4 white pawn g4 white pawn h4 white pawn 4
3 a3 white pawn b3 white pawn c3 white pawn d3 white pawn e3 white pawn f3 white pawn g3 white pawn h3 white pawn 3
2 a2 white pawn b2 white pawn c2 white pawn d2 white pawn e2 white pawn f2 white pawn g2 white pawn h2 white pawn 2
1 a1 white pawn b1 white pawn c1 white pawn d1 white pawn e1 white pawn f1 white pawn g1 white pawn h1 white pawn 1
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
Starting position for the white version of horde chess.